Why I'm Glad That C. S. Lewis Is Dead
Unlike a lot of kids raised in Christian homes, I didn't grow up in Narnia. I had scarcely even heard of the series or its author until Disney started promoting the first of the film adaptations in 2004, and then, I thought it might be some weird Harry Potter knock-off. Since then, thankfully, I've mended my ways and have come to love and admire C. S. Lewis, as an author, an apologist, and a generally wonderful human being.
That's why I'm so glad that, fifty-two years ago, Lewis died. Maybe that sounds harsh, but it's true.
One of the many things that Lewis taught me is an appreciation for “Joy,” his own term for an insatiable longing that, at first, seems to have no obvious cause and no object. In his autobiography Surprised by Joy, Lewis tells of how his first experience of Joy came when he was about six years old. Oddly enough, it was the memory of a small model garden his older brother had made that triggered the longing that time. Other times, it was a landscape, a line of poetry, or sometimes, just the memories of these things that gave him a sense that he was missing something.
As a young man, Lewis's striving after Joy took him down all sorts of strange roads, from Norse mythology to the occult. Every time, Lewis thought he was finally getting to the source of his longing, and every time, he was disappointed. At one point, he believed that the beckoning of Joy was simply an illusion, a madness that, if he followed it any further, would destroy him.
As you might expect, Lewis came to see Joy in a radically different light after his conversion to Christianity in 1931. The hunger that it inspired, however, was just as keen as ever. The only thing that had changed, really, was that he now knew what Joy was: a desire for the completeness and the holiness that can only be found in God through Christ Jesus.
That's why I can't help but rejoice over what Lewis's death means: after a lifetime of searching, he finally has what he wanted all along. After years of living with the pain of homesickness and the exhaustion of waiting, his longing is finally satisfied.
I'm very happy about that, and I look forward to the time when I can join him in the “far-off country.”
[Editor's Note: This blog is a participant in #LewisWeek]